Apple announces Health Records feature coming to veterans

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Working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Apple announced that the Health Records on iPhone feature will be available soon to veterans.

For the first time, American veterans receiving care through the Veterans Health Administration will be able to securely view their aggregated health records directly in the Health app on their iPhone.

“We have great admiration for veterans, and we’re proud to bring a solution like Health Records on iPhone to the veteran community,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “It’s truly an honor to contribute to the improved healthcare of America’s heroes.”

With Health Records on iPhone, veterans across the US will be able to see medical information from participating institutions — including the VA — organized into one view all in the Health app. Health records data includes allergies,  conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals, and is displayed along with other information in the Health app like Apple Watch data.

This means VA patients will get a single, integrated snapshot of their health profile whenever they want quickly and privately. All Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID.

“When patients have better access to their health information, they have more productive conversations with their physicians,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “By bringing Health Records on iPhone to VA patients, we hope veterans will experience improved healthcare that will enhance their lives.”

“Our goal is to empower people to better understand and improve their health, enabling them to view their medical information from multiple providers in one place easily and securely,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology. “We’re excited to bring this feature to veterans across the US.”

Health Records on iPhone will be the first record-sharing platform of its kind available to the VA, which is the largest medical system in the United States providing service to more than 9 million veterans across 1,243 facilities.

Source: Apple

Salute The Troops Music And Comedy Festival Announces Inaugural 2019 Lineup

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The first annual Salute The Troops Music And Comedy Festival will take place on Friday, March 22nd and Saturday, March 23rd at the historic March Field Air Museum in Riverside, CA.

A diverse, multi-genre lineup of musicians and comedians will perform at this series honoring troops and veterans. Snoop Dogg, Cold War Kids, Dashboard Confessional, Capital Cities, members of the Wu-Tang Clan (Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, U-God), Redman, Cheat Codes, Yellowcard’s William Ryan Key and more musical guests will perform, as well as comedians Adam Carolla, Rob Riggle and more. The event is aimed at raising awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress and the epidemic suicide rates among returning soldiers and veterans. Two-day tickets are on sale now at www.SaluteTheTroops.com

 

“I’m looking forward to the show and putting on a great show for the troops. Thank you for all you do for our country,” Snoop Dogg said.

For each ticket sold, a free ticket will be provided to active service men and women. Veterans will receive discounted ticket prices. Veterans and active duty service members can claim tickets online at www.SaluteTheTroops.com

“We are truly humbled at the support we receive from our community. An event such as this, honoring the men and women of the armed forces, is greatly appreciated,” said Major Perry Covington, USAF.

“We are honored to produce events that bring significant entertainment options to our troops, veterans, as well as the general public, and hope to help heal silent wounds through music and comedy. I know for a fact through speaking with many veterans and active service members that music and comedy can provide a momentary release and a long term healing effect that we hope to offer to our men and women, active and veterans,” Nate Parienti said.

Salute The Troops Music And Comedy Festival was founded by Nate Parienti and co-founded with John Wertz (USMC 2001-2006) of Semper Fi Productions. Salute The Troops will take place at March Air Reserve Base on an annual basis with select artists interacting with troops and participating in military activities. Attendees can view and take photos with over 80 aircraft on display at the festival grounds. Other highlights include a Prince tribute from his former band, The New Power Generation, as well as DJs, craft beverages, meals and more.

Read more here: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/snoop-dogg-ghost-face-killah-salute-the-troops-festival-lineup-795033

Get tickets and all info: www.SaluteTheTroops.com

Salute The Troops on the web:

https://www.salutethetroops.com/

https://www.facebook.com/salutethetroops/

https://twitter.com/SaluteTroopFest

https://www.instagram.com/salutethetroopsfestival/

Airman’s Journey from Pro Basketball to Service

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Airman Davis

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Tara Stetler

“When you first go out there, you’re nervous,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Brittnie Davis, Air Mobility Command intelligence officer, as she described what it’s like to be on the court during a professional Australian basketball game.

“You have the lights on you. You have people in the crowd. You put a lot of pressure on yourself thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do good,’ but after the ball tips, your focus is all on basketball at that point.”

Davis’ formal basketball career began when she asked Troy University’s coach if she could try out as a walk-on after she was not recruited.

“He said no one had walked onto the team in 10 years, and I was up for the challenge,” Davis said. “My freshman year, I walked on.”

Making the team was only the beginning. It would take hours of practice for Davis to work her way onto the court.

“There were girls who could out-shoot me, who were faster than me, but I was like, ‘I have to out-work them,’” Davis said. “Eventually, I was able to shoot better and run faster because of all the hard work.”

Basketball Scholarship

Davis’ dedication to improvement impressed her coach, who offered her a full scholarship for her sophomore year.

“By my junior year, I was starting,” Davis said, “and I led my team in scoring my senior year.”

Her motivation and talent did not go unnoticed by her teammates, some of whom were Australian exchange students. They connected her with the Waratah League, a semi-professional league in New South Wales, Australia.

“One of them came to me and said, ‘Hey, what do you think about playing in Australia?’ and just like that, I ended up on a 14-hour flight to Australia,” Davis said.

Davis played for the Newcastle Hunters, one of 10 teams in the league.

“Going around, travelling, seeing different parts of a whole different continent was amazing,” she said. “The competition was different compared to college. It was, of course, a lot better. So it challenged me even more to play at a different level.”

Joining the Air Force

After a year with the Hunters, Davis decided to return to the United States, but she began to miss the camaraderie she’d felt on her team. That was when she became interested in joining the military.

“Connecting with the team, it just wasn’t hard because you have one goal,” Davis said. “That’s the one thing I missed because you have one goal, and you’re fighting for the same thing. I was like, ‘Do I really want to find a regular job?’”

In 2012, Davis enlisted as an X-ray technician. However, with a master’s degree under her belt, she was determined to earn a commission.

“I always knew I wanted to become an officer,” Davis said, “and I knew the only way I would do that is to do better than my peers, and that’s not stepping on people or being mean to other people to try to get up. If you see where you can help someone else, you help them, but you just give it your all, regardless, and it does pay off.”

Davis was rewarded for her dedication when she became an intelligence officer in 2016.

“Hard work pays off,” she said. “I know that sounds cliché, but I’m serious. It works!”

Source: defense.gov

Graduate from Recruit Training Command Earns Military Excellence Award

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Seaman Recruit Austin Grodt, a 2014 Canyon Hills High School in Anaheim, California, graduate and Orange, California, native, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command, Division 808, earning the Military Excellence Award on Feb. 1.

“Being honored with the MEA has made me recognize the time and effort that countless people have given me in order to reach this point,” Grodt said. “Humility and an insatiable drive has to remain at the forefront of my mind throughout my Naval career if I am to pay back those who have sacrificed so much.”

The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award is the top award presented to the No. 1 recruit of their graduating training group. The MEA is awarded to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork. The award placed him at the pinnacle of today’s newest Sailors. Grodt was awarded a flag letter of commendation for his achievements.

Grodt, 23, continued his education at the University of California San Diego, in La Jolla, California, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental chemistry in 2018. Grodt performed marine biomaterials research with Scripps Institution of Oceanography aboard the NOAAS Reuben Lasker (R 228). He has been a California State Parks lifeguard for five years.

Grodt said he joined the Navy to help others.

“I joined to fulfill a desire to give options to others by removing the obstacles preventing them from following their passions and living lives of their own choosing,” Grodt said. “Specifically, I want to remove oppressors, dictators, terrorists, gangs, and others from around the world — allowing people to live freely.”

Grodt credited his Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Rodney Rozier, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Jorge Monarez and Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Joseph Hays for their leadership and guidance.

He also thanked his parents, Stephen and Beverly Grodt, whom he said have inspired and motivated him throughout his life.

“I especially owe where I am today to my parents,” Grodt said. “They never forced anything upon me, but if I chose to accomplish something, they pushed me to do so with all of my ability. The best lesson they have ever imparted upon me is to never allow regret to enter my life. Without that lesson, I would never have had to the courage to make the leap into the Navy.”

Grodt said the toughest part of boot camp was learning to effectively lead and communicate.

“Recruits have diverse backgrounds, reasons for joining the Navy, and motivation levels, which if not addressed, could potentially lead to failure of an evolution,” Grodt said. “To combat this, our division had to get to know each fellow recruit as an individual first and learn each other’s quirks and ticks, in order to positively push each other to success.”

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 30,0000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

Grodt was assigned the rate of special warfare operator.

After graduation, Grodt will attend the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School in Great Lakes, Illinois. Special Warfare Operators perform a multitude of duties in support of special operations missions and operate on, under and from the sea, in the air and on land. These duties require skills in combat diving, paradrop and air operations, small boat operations, submarine and submersible operations, land warfare, small unit tactics, mounted and dismounted operations, small arms and crew served weapons, explosives, communications, tactical medicine, mission planning, intelligence gathering and interpretation, joint and combined operations, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense measures in all environments including urban, desert, jungle, arctic, and mountain warfare.

Paralyzed Veterans of America Receives Over $1 Million through Penske Automotive Group’s “Service Matters” Campaign

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Paralyzed Veterans of America received over $1 million through Penske Automotive Group’s 2018 “Service Matters” campaign.

Since the beginning of this partnership in 2015, Penske Automotive Group has raised more than $4 million to support PVA.

Throughout 2018, Penske Automotive Group’s dealerships encouraged customers to donate toward its “Service Matters” campaign. To maximize the donation, Penske Automotive Group matched each donation up to $500,000. All funds raised go toward supporting PVA’s programs and services, including: veterans’ benefits assistance; legislative and advocacy efforts; employment counseling; medical services and health policy guidance; investment in spinal cord injury and disease research and education; adaptive sports programs; and architectural support—all of which are provided free of charge to veterans and their families.

“Through our great partnership with Penske Automotive Group, we have been able to continue providing veterans with disabilities the programs and services they need to help them live full and productive lives,” said David Zurfluh , national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We thank Penske Automotive Group for its enduring commitment to our nation’s veterans, and for the wonderful support of the company’s employees and customers, all of which helps veterans with disabilities access the care, jobs and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

About Paralyzed Veterans of America

For more than 70 years, Paralyzed Veterans of America has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Learn more at pva.org .

About Penske Automotive

Penske Automotive Group, Inc., headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, is an international transportation services company that operates automotive and commercial truck dealerships principally in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, and distributes commercial vehicles, diesel engines, gas engines, power systems and related parts and services principally in Australia and New Zealand. PAG employs nearly 27,000 people worldwide and is a member of the Fortune 500 and Russell 2000, and is ranked among the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune Magazine.

Continue on to YahooNews to read the complete article.

Navy To Launch First All-Female Flyover To Honor Pioneer Fighter Pilot Rosemary Mariner

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Capt. Rosemary Mariner, one of the first female fighter jet pilots, died last week of ovarian cancer.

For the first time in military history, the Navy is deploying a ceremonial flyover with only female jet pilots to honor the death of retired Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the Navy’s first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet.

The flyover will take place during Mariner’s funeral service in Maynardville, Tennessee, on Saturday. The aeronautic display is known as a missing man flyover traditionally held in honor of pilots or military personnel.

Mariner, 65, died Jan. 24 after a five-year fight against ovarian cancer.

An aeronautics graduate of Purdue University, Mariner joined the Navy in 1973 after being one of eight of the first women to be admitted into military pilot training. During her military career, Mariner made history as the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet ― specifically an A-4C and A-7E, according to her obituary ― and the first woman to command a military aviation squadron.

She earned a master’s in national security strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C., and went on to serve in the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Her obituary noted that Mariner was grateful to the pioneers who paved the way for her career to flourish.

“My role models were African-American men who had led the vanguard in integration of race in the armed forces and studied many of the lessons that they had to pass on,” Mariner once said, according to NPR.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

First Black Colonel: Charles Young

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Charles Young was born into slavery in a two-room log cabin in Mays Lick, Ky., on March 12, 1864. His father Gabriel later fled to freedom and in 1865 enlisted as a private in the 5th Regiment, U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. His father’s enhanced status as a “Grand Army man” impressed Charles as he grew up in Ripley, Ohio. The son was sent to an all-black elementary school, but he was able to attend Ripley’s integrated high school and graduated at the top of his class in 1881. Two years later, at the urging of his father, he took the West Point entrance examination. Twenty-year-old Young scored well, received the required nomination from Ohio’s 12th District Congressman Alphonso Hart and reported to the U.S. Military Academy in June 1884. He was the ninth black American admitted to West Point; he would be the third to graduate with a commission as a second lieutenant.

Young had a miserable time at West Point. Charles Rhodes, a white cadet in Young’s class, remembered him as “a rather awkward, overgrown lad, large-boned and robust in physique, and of a nervous, impulsive temperament.” Rhodes recalled that Young’s “life was lonesome” at West Point––hardly a surprise, as most white cadets refused to associate with blacks and subjected them to racial slurs, cruel slights and hostile treatment beyond the normal hazing.

Young considered quitting West Point after his first year, but his father convinced him to stay—though it took Young five years to complete the curriculum. He had difficulty with engineering but excelled in languages, gaining a working knowledge of Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and German. His decision to persevere was a source of pride for him, and he accepted that “duty, honor, country” must be the foundation of his life as an officer. But Young later advised a young black man interested in attending West Point that he could expect “a dog’s life there.”

Young graduated last in his 49-member class in 1889, and from 1894 until 1936 he was the lone black West Point graduate in the Army.

Assigned to the predominantly black 9th U.S. Cavalry (aka “buffalo soldiers”), Young served in Nebraska and Utah in the early 1890s before reporting to Wilberforce University, near Dayton, Ohio, as professor of military science and tactics. While at Wilberforce, Young befriended W.E.B. Du Bois, a classics professor who would become one of the leading black American intellectuals of the early 20th century. After leaving Wilberforce, Du Bois and Young continued to correspond, and Du Bois considered Young one of the “talented tenth”—those individuals whom Du Bois and other prominent black intellectuals believed would lead the struggle for racial justice in America.

Young’s patience, discipline and hard work paid off when the United States declared war on Spain in April 1898. On May 13 of that year Ohio Governor Asa S. Bushnell appointed 1st Lt. Young a brevet major in command of the 9th Battalion Ohio Volunteers, an all-black unit. While the major and his men remained stateside, Young gained valuable command experience.

At war’s end Young returned briefly to Wilberforce University before rejoining the 9th Cavalry at Fort Duchesne, Utah. While in command of I Troop, 1st Lt. Young (he had reverted to his permanent rank) learned that one of his men, Sgt. Maj. Benjamin O. Davis, wanted to apply for a commission. Young tutored Davis for the competitive examination and wrote a glowing letter of recommendation. In early 1901 Davis passed the test and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He never forgot Young’s help, particularly after becoming the first black American to reach the rank of general.

In February 1901 Young was promoted to captain in the Regular Army—another first for a black man. Two months later Young and I Troop sailed for the Philippines with the rest of the 9th Cavalry. Stationed on Samar, Young and his men fought the Filipino insurrectos in the jungles of the island’s rugged interior. During one operation Young was leading a scouting party when it came under attack. “Captain Young had fired his revolver so fast,” a corporal later recalled, “that the sight was blown off.” Young then took another officer’s pistol and kept firing at the enemy until reinforcements arrived. Such instances of combat leadership earned Young the moniker “Follow Me” from his men, who vowed they would give their lives for him. The 9th Cavalry returned stateside in late 1902.

In May 1903, 39-year-old Captain Young, three other officers and 93 enlisted soldiers left the Presidio of San Francisco for Sequoia and General Grant national parks in north-central California. In the years before the 1916 creation of the National Park Service, the Army ran America’s national parks. The War Department detailed junior officers to the Department of the Interior to serve as acting superintendents during the summer. These assignments were always short-lived; the officers never served for more than two consecutive seasons. Consequently, little was expected.

But Young threw himself into his new job. He took charge of the payroll accounts and directed the activities of the park rangers. He stopped the illegal grazing of sheep in the park’s meadows. Young had his men dig firebreaks and place fences around the giant sequoias to protect them from root damage. The men also began work on a major project: completing a road to the Giant Forest, the park’s major attraction. Civilian crews had completed two-thirds of the road during the past few seasons. Young and his troopers finished it in two months and added another two miles to the road, going on to complete an unfinished road to the town of Visalia, seven miles farther west.

Read more about Charles’ life on History Net.

America’s Warrior Partnership Expands Veteran Suicide Prevention Study to Seven New Communities

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— Operation Deep Dive to be conducted in Cincinnati; Syracuse, N.Y.; Mobile, Ala.; Houston; Charlotte, N.C.; Indianapolis; and Las Vegas —

America’s Warrior Partnership today announced the addition of seven nonprofit organizations and city government groups that will participate in Operation Deep Dive, a community-based veteran suicide prevention study led by America’s Warrior Partnership and University of Alabama researchers with support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

The seven new study participants are the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance (based in Cincinnati); Clear Path for Veterans (based in Syracuse, N.Y.); Veteran Recovery Resources (based in Mobile, Ala.); Combined Arms (based in Houston); Veterans Bridge Home (based in Charlotte, N.C.); the city government of Indianapolis; and the city government of Las Vegas.

“Since launching Operation Deep Dive a year ago, we have received a tremendous response from within the original communities where the study is currently being conducted,” said Jim Lorraine, president and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership. “Suicide prevention is a critical public health issue, so we greatly appreciate the support of our partners in expanding the scope of this project. We welcome the expertise of these seven new community groups, and we look forward to working together in guiding the development of more effective outreach and prevention programs nationwide.”

Each of the participating organizations will lead the creation of a Community Action Team, which will consist of local medical examiners, coroners, veteran-serving organizations, civic leaders, veterans and their families and caregivers. These Community Action Teams will work with University of Alabama researchers to shape, review and direct the project within their region.

“This project’s unique approach of building local teams to work with national researchers promises to provide new insights into the community factors that affect veterans and their families,” said John Damonti, President of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “Expanding Operation Deep Dive to these seven new communities will ensure the project’s results are as comprehensive as possible.”

Operation Deep Dive is the first research endeavor to assess the effects that community environments have on the potential factors of suicides among veterans. Conducted in two phases, the first phase included a five-year retrospective investigation of the impact of less-than-honorable discharges on veterans, as well as the differences in suicide rates between those who received and did not receive support services from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA).

During the second phase of the study, researchers will analyze information gathered by the Community Action Teams along with data from national sources, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and United Way Worldwide to identify trends, patterns and potential indicators of suicide. Results will ultimately guide the development of proactive, holistic prevention and outreach programs to reduce suicide and self-harm among veterans.

In addition to these seven new communities, Operation Deep Dive is currently being conducted in Atlanta; Orange County, Calif.; Buffalo, N.Y; Minneapolis, Minn.; the Panhandle region of Florida; and Greenville and Charleston, S.C.

For more information on Operation Deep Dive, visit AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/Deep-Dive.

About America’s Warrior Partnership

America’s Warrior Partnership is committed to empowering communities to empower veterans. We fill the gaps that exist between current veteran service organizations by helping nonprofits connect with the veterans, military members and families in need: bolstering their efficacy, improving their results and empowering their initiatives. America’s Warrior Partnership is a force multiplier for warrior community integration that enhances communities where great Americans choose to live and contribute. For more information on the organization and how to get involved, visit AmericasWarriorPartnership.org.

 

About Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is committed to improving the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases by strengthening healthcare worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and addressing unmet medical need. The Foundation engages partners to develop, execute, evaluate and promote innovative programs to help patients with lung cancer and removing barriers to accessing care in the United States, HIV and comorbid diseases such as cervical and breast cancers and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa, hepatitis B and C in China and India and veterans’ mental health and well-being in the U.S. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, visit us at BMS.com/Foundation.

Sailor Spotlight! U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Remely Culas

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U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Remely Culas, from Garden Grove, California, directs an MH-60R Sea Hawk, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Chung-Hoon is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

The men and women in U.S. Navy are deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Logan C. Kellums).

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

Navy Office of Community Outreach is the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information national community outreach field activity. NAVCO’s primary means of outreach is through Navy Weeks, which work to bring a concentration of Navy personnel and assets to cities and towns across Middle America.

Mathematician inducted into Space and Missiles Pioneers Hall of Fame

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Lt. Gen. David Thompson, Air Force Space Command vice commander, presented Dr. Gladys West with the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers award for her decades of contributions to the Air Force’s space program. West was unable to attend the formal induction ceremony that took place August 28, where three others joined the elite list of professionals who have greatly impacted the Air Force space program.

Dr. Gladys West is among a small group of women who did computing for the U.S. military in the era before electronic systems.  Hired in 1956 as a mathematician at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, she participated in a path-breaking, award-winning astronomical study that proved, during the early 1960s, the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune.  Thereafter, from the mid-1970s through the 1980s, using complex algorithms to account for variations in gravitational, tidal, and other forces that distort Earth’s shape, she programmed an IBM 7030 “Stretch” computer to deliver increasingly refined calculations for an extremely accurate geodetic Earth model, a geoid, optimized for what ultimately became the Global Positioning System (GPS) orbit.

The Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Award pays tribute to the leaders of the early years of the Air Force space program, as well as the subsequent innovators whose vision and perseverance overcame the obstacles of the unknown, those who transformed the cutting edge of technology into operational systems, and those who dedicated their lives to exploring space in support of our national security concerns.

Continue onto The 45th Space Wing to read the complete article.

Native American helps Soldiers find solace

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During certain mornings in her 28 years in the Army, Julia Kelly would take her troops outdoors, where she could feel the cool air coursing through her lungs and the warmth of the sunshine upon her cheeks. 
The now-retired command sergeant major would ask her Soldiers to take deep breaths and clear their minds from negative thoughts and emotions.

Travelling through the countryside became her welcome retreat growing up in rural southern Montana in one of the largest settlements of the Crow people, a tribe of Native Americans who originally settled in the Great Plains. Also known as the Apsaalooke, or “children of the large-beaked bird” her people share a sacred bond with the land.

She applied Crow principles during her Army career that helped her rise to the service’s highest enlisted rank. Since her retirement in 2010, she still contributes to the Army as an ammunition test coordinator at the Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She also volunteers her time speaking to women on overcoming domestic abuse and she helps serve food to homeless veterans.

Her service to other Soldiers spanned her Army career.

DESERT CALM

Before she deployed to Iraq in 2008, Kelly asked her entire battalion to join her outside for a peaceful walk and deep breathing session. She wanted to show her troops that the dangers of a deployment could not rattle them, because nature would grant them an inner peace, even in Iraq’s harsh climate.

After her 299th Brigade Support Battalion from Fort Riley, Kansas, arrived in Iraq, she would gather troops together before the brigade combat security team departed for morning runs through the streets of Baghdad.

With sage and cedar mailed to her from relatives, she would bless the vehicles and Soldiers and recite a morning prayer — a sacred Crow tradition to give thanks. More importantly, she performed a ritual called “smudging,” asking for protection from the Creator.

During smudging, she would burn sage with abalone shell and a feather to clear the body and mind of negative energy, and to protect her Soldiers from harm. She would ask her Soldiers to face toward the east into the sun which signals the start of a new day.

Spirituality is believing “in something greater than yourself,” she said.

Continue onto The Army Newsroom to read the complete article.